Iranian fans booed and whistled (a sign of displeasure) when the players sang the country's national anthem prior to kick-off against Wales at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on Friday. This is in contrast to what happened at the opening game against England, when the players, support staff, and fans refused to sing the national anthem as a mark of protest against the ongoings back home in Iran.The sudden u-turn is because reports have emerged that the Iranian team would face backlash if they continued their silent protest in the remaining World Cup matches. On Tuesday Mehdi Chamran, the chairman of Tehran city council, said: “We will never allow anyone to insult our anthem and flag. Iranian civilisation has a history of several thousand years, this civilisation is as old as the total of European and American civilisations.”
- Lots of emotions during the National anthem of Iran. pic.twitter.com/vTqIFD92J9
— (@TheEuropeanLad) November 25, 2022
So, why did the players protest in the first place?
The gesture was a symbolic show of support for the protests that have erupted in Iran ever since a 22-year-old woman was killed in custody by the 'moral police' in September. Mahsa Amini, the victim, was arrested in September, in Tehran, after she was detained for not wearing the Hijab correctly. Three days after her arrest, Amini was found dead which triggered widespread protests.
This silent protest from the players was in support of the ongoing protests back home against the current regime.
Iranian fan has shirt with name of Mahsa Amini removed by security at Iran v Wales game pic.twitter.com/8wstcZAqnQ— David Harding (@DM_Harding) November 25, 2022